Donor Support and CSUN Foundation Match Create Opportunities, Changes Lives

drone photo of university library

Photo by David J. Hawkins

New high-tech equipment is unlocking possibilities for advanced research. More students are receiving scholarships and other support that help them focus on their studies. And the cost of hands-on learning experiences, such as internships and travel, are covered to help students launch rewarding careers.

Programs across the California State University, Northridge campus continue to benefit from an influx of donor support inspired by a CSUN Foundation Board of Directors initiative to match eligible donations made or pledged in 2022.

For this initiative, known as the Matador Match Challenge, the CSUN Foundation Board allocated more than $9.5 million in matching incentive funds, which inspired and engaged over 2,000 donors, including alumni, students, faculty and friends, to provide more than $14 million in new gifts to impact CSUN’s future, for a total of almost $24 million in resources.

The match served to inspire donations from supporters who had never given before, and motivated longtime donors to deepen their investments through increasing the amounts of their gifts or extending their commitments.

Because the match applies to eligible pledges committed in 2022 with payments extending through 2024, the initiative will continue to provide immediate funding for student life, academic activities and community programs well into the future.

“Support from the CSUN Foundation and our donors provides life-changing opportunities for our students, with scholarships that enable their ability to pursue their dreams, faculty who are endowed to advance knowledge and engage students in high-impact research, and support for students’ basic needs,” said CSUN President Erika D. Beck. “These gifts allow CSUN to facilitate the transformative power of higher education, disrupt intergenerational inequity and advance social mobility.”

The impact of the Match total is sweeping:

  • Almost $12 million boosts the classroom and experiential learning of students through innovative programs at the college and department levels, including opportunities for both student and faculty research.
  • Over $6.5 million supports new and continuing campus programs, including mental health services for students, literacy training for elementary school teachers, and updates for campus equipment and facilities.
  • More than $5 million directly supports our students’ academic success through scholarships.

“The CSUN Foundation is pleased to partner with the many supporters who rose to the occasion and are making a difference through the match initiative,” said Robert D. Taylor ’82 (Engineering), chair of the CSUN Foundation Board of Directors. “The lasting effects of philanthropy begin with, and end with, a better society for all of us. The more we create opportunity — which philanthropy does — the more we grow our society, the better functioning our society is, the better off we all are.”

The Match Challenge encouraged donations both large and small. Eligible gifts up to $250,000 were matched, as were smaller gifts designated to specific funds for scholarships, academic colleges and campuswide programs.

These gifts fueled progress on projects that will greatly impact the student experience, including investments in building a new student Basic Needs Suite, plus enhancements to the CSUN Black House and support for high-tech learning environments in colleges across the university.

An example of new research opportunities includes a $250,000 anonymous gift to the Department of Biology in the College of Science and Mathematics — matched to total $500,000 — for high-tech equipment and laboratory upgrades that expand the capabilities for microbial physiology research in professor Gilberto Flores’ lab investigating the human gut microbiome. Luis Duran ’23 (Biology), who is now a master’s student, spent the summer learning to use one of the new machines, often teaching himself through hands-on experimentation. He said he appreciates the opportunity provided by the donation.

 “It really does mean a lot,” Duran said. “It gives me the opportunity to deepen our understanding of what’s going on with the bacteria we’re working with.”

 Many donors helped ease the financial burdens of college life by supporting scholarships and scholarship endowments. An example is the Priscilla Moyer Scholarship, which was boosted with a matched donation from Moyer in 2022 to increase future support available to scholarship recipients. Erika Martinez, who recently graduated from CSUN’s Department of Cinema and Television Arts in the Mike Curb College of Arts, Media, and Communication, was a three-time recipient of this scholarship and was able to quit a part-time job to focus on her studies.

 “The scholarship made it possible for me to attend college,” Martinez said. “It helped me a lot to just be able to focus on academics and helped alleviate that financial pressure on my family.”

 Arturo Garcia ’15 (Management), MBA ’22 was moved to give a small contribution because of the Foundation match.

 “CSUN has been good to me, and it’s the least I can do to help out the next class,” Garcia said. “There were people who helped me during my undergrad, so it only felt right to help the next class coming in.”

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